Department of Health

Key messages

  • Affirmation – affirm the dignity and value of LGBTI people’s sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.
  • Freedom from discrimination – ensure LGBTI people live their lives free from discrimination.
  • Access and equity – provide LGBTI-inclusive services.

Inclusive practice principles

Three overarching inclusive practice principles can be applied across health and human services and more broadly to areas such as community sport and schools.

  1. Affirmation – affirm the dignity and value of LGBTI people’s sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status. When a service provider values and welcomes people of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status, this helps people who are LGBTI achieve the sense of personal and collective worth upon which good health and wellbeing depend.
  2. Freedom from discrimination – ensure LGBTI people live their lives free from discrimination. People who are LGBTI are subject to higher levels of abuse and discrimination than the population as a whole. In the absence of full legal and social equality, people who are LGBTI will continue to be at increased risk of poorer physical and mental health and wellbeing due to their experiences of violence and discrimination.
  3. Access and equity - provide LGBTI-inclusive services. People who are LGBTI are less likely to access services because they have experienced discrimination or anticipate discrimination. Where they do access services, people who are LGBTI are more likely than the general population to report higher levels of dissatisfaction. Inclusive practice involves delivering services to LGBTI clients that are appropriate, able to meet their specific health and wellbeing needs and do not reflect discriminatory assumptions and practices that contribute to poorer health and wellbeing.

More information is provided as best practice examples and actions for inclusive practice.

Inclusive service standards

Relevant standards supporting inclusive service delivery exist in a broad form in many areas of health and human services. Specific standards for LGBTI-inclusive practice have been developed and inform the Rainbow tick program against which services can be accredited to demonstrate inclusive practice and service delivery. 

Rainbow Tick Program

The Rainbow Tick Program was developed by GLHV in partnership with Quality Innovation Performance (QIP), a not-for-profit, national accreditation body. The Program promotes LGBTI-inclusive service provision by providing training to health and human services and assisting organisations prepare for Rainbow Tick accreditation. The Rainbow Tick consists of six LGBTI-inclusive practice standards against which services can be accredited by QIP. The standards cover:

  1. Organisational capability - LGBTI-inclusive practice is incorporated in all organisational procedures, protocols and practices.
  2. LGBTI cultural safety - organisations identify the possible risks to LGBTI clients and staff and develop procedures and processes to ensure their cultural safety.
  3. Professional development - all staff are provided with ongoing LGBTI-inclusive practice training.
  4. Consumer consultation and participation - LGBTI consumers are included in processes of service planning, development and review.
  5. Disclosure and documentation - create an environment that assists clients to feel safe to disclose their sexuality, gender identity or intersex status.
  6. Access and intake processes - access and intake processes send a message of welcome to LGBTI consumers and staff.

Gaining Rainbow Tick accreditation requires considerable commitment, planning and resources. GLHV provides an Audit Tool that organisations can use to assess their current level of LGBTI-inclusivity and identify gaps and areas where they need additional support and training before registering with QIP to undergo Rainbow Tick accreditation.

GLHV also offers professional development and staff training on LGBTI issues and a HOW2? Program run over six months that takes organisations through each of the Rainbow Tick Standards. Agencies that undergo and receive Rainbow Tick accreditation will have met or exceeded a set of evaluation criteria for each of the six standards and will be able to list their services on a national registry of Rainbow Ticked agencies. 

Human Services Standards

The Human Services Standards represent a single set of service quality standards for department funded service providers and department-managed services. The human service standards are summarised below:

  • Empowerment: People’s rights are promoted and upheld.
  • Access and Engagement: People’s right to access transparent, equitable and integrated services is promoted and upheld.
  • Wellbeing: People’s right to wellbeing and safety is promoted and upheld.
  • Participation: People’s right to choice, decision making and to actively participate as a valued member of their chosen communities is promoted and upheld. 

People in same-sex relationships have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples to authorise medical treatment, access information and visit their partner in hospital. 

Victorian laws protect the attributes of gender identity and disability (both of which may include intersex people depending on the situation). Transgender and intersex people are also protected against discrimination related to their gender identity or intersex status under national anti-discrimination laws. Trans and gender diverse people born in Victoria can change their name when affirming their gender identity. Sex affirmation surgery is required to change the gender ‘marker’ on birth certificates. However, this process is currently being reviewed. 

Read more about Legal issues for LGBTI inclusive services 


Reviewed 10 November 2021


Contact details

International, interstate and mobile callers: +61 3 9096 9000

Diversity team Department of Health

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